f/k/a archives . . . real opinions & real haiku

April 29, 2006

a question for True Majority

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 1:22 pm

Why do the good people at True Majority.org (whose goal f/k/a endorses)

need to whitewash the role of Democratic politicians in our Nation’s rush to

war in Iraq?   True Majority has started a campaign to bombard Democratic

Leaders with the demand that they “Not Be Fooled Again” regarding Iran. They  

should instead stand up against the Bush Administration’s plans and arguments

for bombing Iran over its future nuclear weapons.   Their Petition to Democratic

Leaders (such as Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid) says:



Please, use all the influence you’ve got to convince Democrats to

find sufficient backbone to withstand any and all pressure from the

President or anyone else to go to war with Iran.

We wish we would could agree that they were duped and bullied —  that it was 

credulity and cowardice that got Democrats to vote to authorize the Iraq War. 

However, as we opined in “may I speak frankly about my fellow Democrats?” 

(Oct. 24, 2004, just prior to Election Day), it was political expediency that made

Democrats vote to invade Iraq (and to remain silent for so long about the “post-

victory” situation in that country).  They believed that going against a popular

President and against public sentiment would cost them votes.  So, they went

with the political tide.

rural interstate —

all the cars

exit together


   lee gurga 

        from Fresh Scent



The good news is that Democratic Leaders will almost surely do as True Majority

asks — “stand up, pound their podiums and loudly denounce the Bush Administr-

ation’s planning for bombing Iran.”



The bad news is that they’ll probably do the right thing for the wrong reasons.  They”ll

come out for using diplomacy rather than bombs against Iran because voters are sick

of war and its many costs, and because the President is unpopular and far weaker.  I’d

still prefer good policy and morality for their own sake — political integrity over political

expediency.  Nonetheless, right now, playing politics should help prevent bombing Iran

(with its unimaginably bad unintended consequences).   With politics in a democracy,

you’ve gotta be thankful for good policy, even when the motives are less than pure.


tiny check  Come on, True Majority: don’t let the Democratic Leadership off the hook.

Don’t make excuses for them, like the parent of some irresponsible adolescent. 

Why not just tell them: “Last time, you knew what was the right thing, but de-

cided to go for votes instead. This time, do the right thing, because it is the right

thing.  The next thing you know, you may start speaking with moral authority

again and end up getting votes despite yourselves.”

“tinyredcheck”  Another quibble with True Majority.  We complain that

the Republican Administration doesn’t ask for the sacrifice

from Americans that is needed to achieve many important

political and social goals.  Why then do you choose as your

website tagline this rousing call to commitment and action?

“Give us two minutes a month.  We’ll give you a better world.”

The world does not need more laptop revolutionaries, who think

two minutes a month gets them off the hook for the actions of 

their politicians and Government.  See our post on “slactivism

activism requires action (Jan. 22, 2005)


penny over potluck

tiny check Here’s a linguistic and social “tip from Steve Breen and “Grand Avenue” —

and it’s lots easier for we members of the unwashed masses to understand than the

typical post at Language Log.


more from Language Log: Benjamin Zimmer at Language Log adds an interesting

twist to Spanish National Anthem story.   With a better source than Washington Post‘s

David Montgomery, Ben says:

“I don’t know which ‘musicologists’ Montgomery consulted,

but Wikipedians have had better luck finding other foreign-

language versions of the anthem. So far contributors to the

Wikipedia page for Nuestro Himno” have turned up examples

in German, Yiddish, Samoan, French, and Latin. Not only that,

they discovered a number of other Spanish versions reproduced

on the website of the U.S. State Department. (Will this page be

removed now that President Bush has declared that the anthem

“ought to be sung in English”?)

Ben wrote an additional post today (April 29), discussing at length the infamous

quote that is often attributed to Texas Governor Miriam Amanda “Ma” Ferguson:



“If the King’s English was good enough for Jesus Christ, it’s good

enough for the children of Texas!”

Ben tries very hard to exonerate Ma Ferguson.  We don’t know enough about the

politics or religious philosophy of Gov. Ferguson to guess whether she might just

have meant this little piece of know-nothing bigotry and ignorance.  [We blurbed

about the same quote (or slight variations) in our post get a good translator.  Go

there to see examples of classic Japanese haiku that have received varied treatment

from various transators.]



WOlson  Here’s a story from Schenectady County [NY] that I hope Walter

Olson will cover at Overlawyered.com.   Abraham Pearson was arrested in

2003, and is still facing child pornography charges for incidents that took

place in his home in Niskayuna, a Schenectady suburb.  Pearson is charged

with “videotaping  and assaulting his children’s baby sitter, then 17, over the

span of seven months on 64 separate occasions,” taping each encounter.

In June, 2003, he allegedly also attacked a 15-year-old girl, who disclosed

the abuse to her mother, leading to a swift investigation and arrest. (Schen-

ectady Daily Gazette, “Papers allege porn record,” April 29, 2006, at B1,

access by $ubscription). 


That’s just background.  We learn in today’s Gazette article that the family

of the then-15-year-old victim filed suit on Monday (April 24), in New York

State Supreme for Schenectady County, against Pearson’s wife, Elyse Pearson,

seeking unspecified damages.  The lawsuit was filed by attorney Kevin P. Hickey 

(admitted to the bar in 1999) of the Albany law firm of O’Connell and Aronowitz

According to the victim’s mother, the abuse took an emotional and financial toll

on the family.  The Gazette states that Plaintiffs had already filed suit against

Abraham Pearson back in 2004.  The newspaper reports her claims (at B3):

  “The girl, the younger of the two victims, needed programs to

work through the trauma, and her parents feared she might commit



   “The financial impact came as they fought insurance companies

after being told benefits for counseling had run out.  Meanwhile, the

girl sill needed the programs, her family said.”

The Gazetteexplains” the plaintiffs’ theory of liability:

   “[Hickey] said Pearson’s wife knew or should have known

what her husband was doing and could have prevented it.”

Elyse Pearson’s attorney, Lawrence Gordon of the Glenville, New York firm

Gordon Tepper & Decoursey, per the Gazette, “confirmed that divorce proceed-

ings are ongoing,” in a suit filed by Mrs. Pearson.  He declined to comment on

the suit.”   After a three-year federal investigation, no charges have been filed

against Elyse Pearson and, the Gazette reports that “the federal prosecutor said

this week there is no evidence she was involved.”




We do not for a moment want to minimalize the emotional trauma suffered by the

young victim of sexual abuse.  However, unless it can be shown that Elyse Pearson

knew what her husband was doing with those girls, it is difficult to agree that she

should be held civilly liable for not preventing his crimes.  (And, the cost of disputing

health insurance coverage limitations seems a bit far afield, when looking at proper

damages in the suit.)   Nonetheless, the Pearsons had a nice home in an upscale

suburb, so — Walter Olson might say — it would be very unAmerican to let Elyse

Pearson get away with part of the marital pie.


tiny check As dentist-haijin Lee Gurga surely knows: sometimes,

to heal, you need to take some bitter medicine, or

undergo a bit of pain.


silent prayer —

the quiet humming

of the ceiling fan




podium sf 




his side of it

her side of it

winter silence





my dream

awakens me . . .

I wake you



two little boys

paddling like mad —

the beached canoe






pine shade

the wooden bench

worn smooth



rows of corn

   stretch to the horizon —

      sun on the thunderhead



from Fresh Scent (Brooks Books,1998) and/or The Haiku Anthology

(3rd. Ed, edited by Cor van den Heuvel)




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